Bien Me Sabe - Venezuelan Coconut Cream Cake

coconut cake

James Baigrie/Getty Images

Prep: 3 hrs
Cook: 60 mins
Total: 4 hrs
Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
850 Calories
31g Fat
132g Carbs
12g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 850
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 31g 40%
Saturated Fat 21g 105%
Cholesterol 204mg 68%
Sodium 539mg 23%
Total Carbohydrate 132g 48%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 106g
Protein 12g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 214mg 16%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 272mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Bien me sabe is a delicious Venezuelan dessert—a rich coconut cake with layers of cream and meringue. The name translates to "tastes good to me" (a good little grammar lesson for anyone studying those tricky Spanish reflexive verbs). This cake is similar to tres leches cake in that it is served chilled and is extremely moist, sweet, and rich. You can prepare this cake using a cake mix to save time, or use your favorite white cake or sponge cake recipe. Bien me sabe is best if allowed to chill overnight, so plan ahead if possible.


For the Cake:

  • 1 box white cake mix

  • 3 large eggs

  • Vegetable oil, according to cake mix directions

For the Coconut Cream Filling:

  • 1 (15-ounce) can coconut cream

  • 1 1/3 cups milk

  • 1 pinch salt

  • 5 large egg yolks, whites reserved

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream

  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut, optional

For the Syrup:

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 3/4 cup water

  • 2 tablespoons rum

For the Meringue Topping:

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup

  • 5 large egg whites

To Garnish:

  • 1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut, toasted

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, for garnish

Steps to Make It

Prepare the Cake

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 9 x 13-inch pan with wax paper.

  3. Mix cake mix according to directions and pour batter into the pan.

  4. Bake according to package directions.

  5. Remove cake from oven and cool completely.

Prepare Coconut Cream Pudding

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a medium saucepan, bring the cream of coconut, milk, and salt to a simmer.

  3. While the milk is heating, whisk together the egg yolks, cornstarch, and sugar in a separate bowl until smooth.

  4. When the milk starts to simmer, remove from heat and pour about a cup of the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking quickly to mix.

  5. Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan, and return to the stove. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until cream mixture starts to thicken and come to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool.

  6. Stir in the vanilla, cover the surface of the coconut cream with a piece of plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour or two.

  7. Once the coconut cream is chilled, whip the heavy whipping cream in a bowl until soft peaks form.

  8. Whisk a cup of the whipped cream into the coconut cream to lighten it.

  9. Then fold the remaining whipped cream and the 1 cup shredded coconut (if using) into the coconut cream. Chill until ready to assemble the cake.

Prepare Simple Syrup

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Bring 3/4 cup sugar and 3/4 cup water just to a boil.

  3. Remove from heat, let cool, then stir in the rum.

Prepare Meringue

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Place the sugar, 1/3 cup water, corn syrup, and pinch of salt in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil.

  3. Place egg whites in the (very clean) bowl of an electric mixer, and attach the wire whisk. When the temperature of the sugar syrup from the prior step reaches about 240 F (115 C), or after about 3 minutes, turn on the mixer and start beating the egg whites.

  4. When the temperature of the sugar syrup reaches 248 F (120 C), remove the syrup from the heat. The total cooking time is about 4 minutes, and the sugar syrup should make thin threads if you drizzle it off of a fork, and will have thickened.

  5. At this point, the egg whites should be forming stiff peaks. Slowly and carefully pour the syrup down the side of the mixer bowl, into the beaten egg whites. Continue to beat the meringue until it cools, about 5 minutes.

  6. Fold in 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 teaspoon rum if desired.

Assemble Cake

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Remove cake from pan and slice cake in half horizontally into two layers.

  3. Spread half of the coconut cream mixture on the bottom of the 9 x 13-inch cake pan.

  4. Place one layer of cake on top of the coconut cream. Use a pastry brush to moisten cake with some of the syrup mixtures, then sprinkle cake lightly with cinnamon.

  5. Spread the remaining coconut cream on top of the cake.

  6. Cover cream with second cake layer. Moisten cake with syrup and sprinkle with cinnamon.

  7. Top cake with meringue mixture, using a spoon to swirl meringue decoratively.

  8. Turn on oven broiler and carefully brown the top of the meringue under the broiler (for just a minute or two, not too close).

  9. Sprinkle top of cake with toasted coconut. Chill cake several hours or overnight before serving.

Glass Bakeware Warning

Do not use glass bakeware when broiling or when a recipe calls to add liquid to a hot pan, as glass may explode. Even if it states oven-safe or heat resistant, tempered glass products can, and do, break occasionally.


  • To toast the coconut, spread 1/2 cup sweetened dried coconut out in a cake pan and place into a 350 F oven to toast. Check coconut frequently and stir occasionally so that it toasts evenly. When it has toasted and is golden brown, remove from oven and set aside.